The Confession | Sunday Respite 

Sunday Respite
Blessed Jesus, you offered us all your benedictions when you announced…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”
but we have been rich in pride.
“Blessed are those who mourn”
but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.
“Blessed are the meek”
but we are a stiff-necked people.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”
but we are filled to the full with other things.
“Blessed are the merciful”
but we are harsh and impatient.
“Blessed are the pure in heart”
but we have impure hearts.
“Blessed are the peacemakers”
but we have not sought reconciliation.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness”
but our lives do not challenge the world.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”
but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.

We plead with you to ask the Father to grant us forgiveness and give us the blessedness of your righteousness.

— Matthew 5:2-12 (ESV)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

40 Gifts of Lent  | Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN

The Song | Sunday Respite 

Sunday Respite 1 Lent

PSALM 100 {The Message}

On your feet now — applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.

 The whole world is singing a song. It’s the song without words. It’s the song you were created to sing too. We forgot our song long ago, when we turned and ran away from God. But Jesus has come to bring us home to God—and give us back our song. So go on—sing your song! -Sally Lloyd-Jones

Sunday Respite 2 Song

40 Gifts of Lent  | Quotation: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, Sally Lloyd-Jones; page 28, Sing Your Song

Sunday Respite | Surprised by God

Psalm 36 5

I am glad that there is no mystery with God. He is never caught off guard. He is never surprised by the events that happen in the world…in my life and in the lives of my family. In an instant we are cast in a life-changing event, unsure of what tomorrow will be like. What we can be sure of is that we are secure in God’s love, a steadfast love that is deep and wide as the heavens span infinity. God is forever faithful to us.

You’re such an outrageously generous God. Your kindness and love appeared to me out of nowhere—like a helicopter of hope, rescuing me from a hopeless existence; like a geyser of grace in the middle of an arid desert; actually, more like a resurrection to life from the tomb of my sin and death. So great is the gospel, so stunning your sovereign love. ―Scotty Smith

Emmanuel, the God who is with us, walks alongside anyone willing to reach out with simple faith, to comfort, heal, redeem, and restore, often quietly, sometimes slowly, but always faithfully, until we pause just long enough to recognize something so amazing, so counter-intuitive, so stunning, so surprising: his mercy, favor, goodwill, even joy, for a weary, waiting world. —Stephan Bauman

Psalm 36 5-2

Sunday Respite | Show Them Jesus

sunday respite_2

”This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.” Isaiah 44:2-5

Dear Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this amazing scripture that gives us great hope for our future generation, our children’s children. I am thankful that you formed them in their mother’s womb and you promise to be their help. I pray that you would pour out your Spirit upon them and that your name would be written on their hand. With anticipation, I long for them to say with confident assurance, “I belong to the Lord.”

Please keep them thirsty for your love, for your truth, for your word. I pray that you would make the gospel of grace compelling and irresistible in their lives.

Help us, their parents and grandparents to be faithful to pray for our next generation to spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. This is a beautiful portrait of a life rescued by your grace. Please pour out your blessings on our descendants and help us to remain faithful to show them Jesus.

Amen.

sunday respite 1

Sunday Respite | Worship

Deuteronomy 10:17We have not loved our neighbor as you instructed us.
We have not spoken up for those who needed our help.
We have turned away from strangers.
We have not shared with others the gracious hospitality you share with us.

You asked for our hands,
that you might use them of your purpose.
We gave them for a moment,
then withdrew them, for the work was hard.

You asked for our mouths,
to speak out against injustice.
We gave you a whisper,
that we might not be accused.

You asked for our eyes,
to see the pain of poverty.
We closed them,
for we did not want to see.

You asked for our life,
that you might work through us.
We gave a small part,
that we might not get too involved.

Lord, forgive our calculated efforts to serve you
only when it is convenient for us to do so,
only in those places where it is safe to do so
and only with those who make it easy to do so.

 

The Worship Sourcebook, 2.2 Prayers of confession, 35 (p98)

Sunday Respite | Give Thanks

Psalm 136:1

Dear Lord,

I often forget to thank you for your steadfast love, to remember that your love endures forever. My affections run amiss towards other things that can never last. Please open my eyes to see your goodness. Please refresh my memory to the times when you have rescued me from myself. To remember those times where you undoubtedly displayed your goodness and love towards me. 

I often remember to give thanks for all of the good things that happen…when life is peachy-keen and goes my way. Absolutely, I will thank you!

But then when something really tough happens, I grumble about it, start to worry, only to find myself leaning into that awful anxiety that has begun to take hold.  Please forgive me for a fickle heart, turning to what is not good and not lovely.

I pray to be steadfast in my love for you. 

I turn my thoughts on you, Lord. You refresh my memory of your goodness and faithfulness. There is freedom from fear and anxiety. 

Thank you for everything you have planned for me to experience, the comfortable and the uncomfortable. 

Everything changes from day to day. But your love never changes. Your love is steadfast. You are good.

With a thankful heart, I pray.

Amen

Sunday Respite | Needing Wisdom

James 1:5

After a year of being forced to stop running due to a physical set-back, I’m elated to be back on the road, pounding the asphalt, and tunes streaming through earbuds. My run this morning was especially wonderful with a cool temperature in the mid-60’s and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds.

As I normally begin every run, I started slow to warm up, and soon found the familiar and comfortable stride, in sync with the beat and rhythm of upbeat music. Before I realized it, I was no longer aware of the distance I had traveled as the exhilarating effect of a runner’s high resulted in a sudden increase of energy.

Once the runner’s high began to taper off, my mind wandered to daydreaming about wishful adventures, outrageous goals, and thoughts about painful, down-to-earth realities…such as the shock of learning that a good friend died and to process through some of the hard decisions my family will need to make.

I begin to pray. To talk to God about everything. The music is still playing in my ears, yet I’m not paying attention to the words of a song, only the words I am shouting silently to God, as I run. While I know I have God’s attention all the time, I particularly enjoy having his attention to hear my anxious prayers when I’m sweating and running.

Praying on this particular day, I asked God for one thing only and that was, “Lord, I need wisdom.” I’m facing a mountain of decisions and I need wisdom to discern the right choice. I need wisdom to navigate through the emotional pull from people in my life while my natural tendency is to “fix” their problems. I need wisdom to parent well, to discern when to speak up and when to shut up. I need practical, grace-filled wisdom…

And immediately there it was! I remembered this verse: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) There is incredible peace and joy knowing that God will generously give the wisdom I need.

I’m home now, sitting on the back porch, unlacing my running shoes and drinking a bottle of cold water. It’s been a good run and a fantastic start of a new day. When I stop and ponder how it is to receive wisdom, it amazes me again that the way of the wise is earnest prayer and extended meditation on the Word of God. I’m so glad that this conversation with my Heavenly Father will continue throughout the day.

Already, there is clarity and direction.

Proverbs 9:10